Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 12: Oberhausen

This past week, I've been with my dad and Oma in Oberhausen. Although I'm psyched to head to Berlin for a solo trip tomorrow morning, I'll definitely miss Oberhausen and living with Oma. Here were a few highlights of the last week or so...

Oma is the torte queen
An abundance of adorable ceramic bunnies can be found in this apartment
...and two Lammkuchen...
AND an abundance of Easter candy!
Oma lives just behind her lovely church
And just in front of this beautiful park
And I was lucky enough to get dinner with former au pair!
It's a shame to leave, but new adventures are coming soon :) Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A quick blog design note...

I recently added my Instagram photo stream to my blog! I update Instagram (a photo-sharing phone app and website) more often than I blog and add photos to Facebook, so I thought it might be nice for anybody who wants to see more. Just click on any of the photos on the lefthand side, and it'll bring you to another website with the full-size picture :)
And don't forget that you can add a comment at the bottom of any blog post on the website - I love comments!

Feel free to leave a comment about any other features, changes, or posts you would like to see.


Week 12: Münster

This Thursday, Dad, Oma and I drove to Münster. We started off the day trip by walking around, exploring a few of the churches, eating excessive amounts of food, and enjoying the sunshine on an open-top city bus tour. Münster is just gorgeous. I didn't expect it to be so full of students, history, and bikes (half of all daily travel is done on bicycle, which is one of the reasons it was named the most eco-friendly city in Germany). After a necessary ice cream break, we explored the Botanischer Garten, where I took a ridiculous number of photos...
I'll post a full album on Facebook when I'm back in London, for anybody who wants to see more. Happy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 11: Amsterdam

Hi, all!

I'm in Oberhausen with Dad, and today is Oma's 77th birthday! We're going out for dinner to celebrate soon; until then, here are some pictures from our day in Amsterdam:
Hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Week 10: Belgium

Last Thursday night, some friends and I took an overnight bus (something I hope to never do again) to Belgium. We arrived on Friday at 6AM, and were forced to take refuge in a McDonalds (another thing I hope to never do again) in order to get wifi and search for activities open so early. We spent Friday walking around itty-bitty Brussels and visited the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. It was relatively nice, but we were ultimately very disappointed with Brussels. We saw very few other people, despite being out from nearly 6AM - 1AM; nearly all the shops were tourist chains; we were harassed multiple times; and the city itself just had a weird atmosphere. It was underwhelming, to say the least.

Luckily, we made the excellent decision to spend Saturday in Bruges! After just an hour-long train ride through the lovely countryside, we made it to what is best described as a fairy-tale city. We ate waffles and pommes frites, admired the quaint architecture, explored a number of unique chocolate shops, and enjoyed the unbelievably gorgeous spring flowers and weather. We rented bikes and cycled up and down the river, and later drank some fine Belgian beer and accidentally attended a public all-ages rave. Bruges was an absolute blast.
Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break

Spring break is so bittersweet. When I return to London on April 3rd, I also return to the onslaught of finals. After three stressful weeks of five essays and two exams, this whole fabulous living-in-London thing will be over. Still, I’m incredibly excited about what comes after the end of the semester: GREECE! At the end of May, I'm meeting Mom, Steve, and Andrey in Athens (two days after Andrey graduates college! Eek!). We'll enjoy a short stay in Athens before making our way to the gorgeous island Skopelos. Mom and Steve will return home while Andrey and I take a 5-day trip to London before heading back to Boston. When I return to the States, I’ll be working as a Teaching Assistant for the Summer Institute of the Gifted, with younger children at Boston University Academy in July (like last summer), and with teenagers at Harvard in August. In between all that, I’ll be trying to find time to visit my dad on Cape Cod and find an apartment in the City.

But enough about summer. Let’s talk about spring break! 
This afternoon, I head to Amsterdam, where I’m meeting my dad. On Saturday night, we’re driving to Oma’s in Oberhausen, just in time for her 77th birthday on Sunday! Dad returns to the States next weekend, and on the 23rd, I head to Berlin. I’m so excited to take a solo 4-day trip! As wonderful as traveling with friends is, being able to do whatever I want, on my own timetable, will be excellent (my roommate Nicole’s best trip so far was her solo trip to Prague). I've got a long list of prospective activities, and I bought myself a ticket to see this ballet on my last night. I should have decent internet access for most of my trip, so don’t hesitate to comment or email me; I’ll try to upload a quick update or two while I’m away! I’m so excited for this spring break, and to share it all with you guys!

Talk to you soon,


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Warner Brother Studio in Leavesden, where most of the Harry Potter films were created. The studio tour had been at the top of my list since I found out I would spending the semester in London, and I would definitely give it a capital-O Outstanding. "Magical" does not begin to cover how wonderful the experience was! [Insert more bad HP jokes and puns here]. Here are just a few of the many pictures I took on the trip...
Some friends and I being foolish while waiting to go inside
I didn't have any Harry Potter garb with me, so I settled for Ravenclaw nails
The Great Hall, complete with Professor costumes
Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes in Diagon Alley
Funnily enough, most of the portraits in the castle are actually oil paintings of crew members!
Professor Snape in his Potions dungeon
A partial wand collection
The scarf in the corner was knitting itself at the Burrow
The Goblet of Fire, which is made out of... wood
Ron's dress robes... if only he appreciated vintage!
A quick trip in Mr. Weasley's car ;)
I had no idea how many scenes relied on animatronics (robots that move so smoothly they appear animated). Apparently all zoomed-out scenes involving Hagrid actually feature a robot rather than Robbie Coltrane! (Watch a short clip involving the Hagrid robot here)
A few robotic props
Buckbeak was beautiful and moved so realistically! Watch him moving here
I love how different and unique they designed the Merfolk
All of the creatures were beautifully created
The Ministry of Magic "Magic is Might" sculpture from Deathly Hallows
One of the many incredible concept art collections
By Adam Brockbank
The Gryffindor Common Room, where a portrait of a young Maggie Smith hangs
Professor Umbridge's office...
...and some of her clothes
The white-card model of the castle
Butterbeer at Privet Drive with my favorite Muggles
The studio tour was so lovely that I'm going back with Andrey in June! I can hardly wait :-)